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Sandra Passchier

Professor, Earth and Environmental Studies

Center for Environmental & Life Sciences 324
MS, University of Amsterdam
PhD, Ohio State University
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Dr. Passchier is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies. Her research interests are focused on understanding changes in the behavior of ice-sheets and ocean circulation under different climate states using data from sediment archives within glaciated continental margins. Dr. Passchier completed seven field seasons in the Polar Regions, on land and aboard research vessels. Currently she directs projects investigating West Antarctic ice behavior in high-latitude sediment archives acquired through deep-sea drilling. Her group's research is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Students with an interest in getting involved in research on sediments, paleoclimate, oceanography, or glacial and polar environments are encouraged to contact Dr. Passchier. Please consult the -Links- section below for more information on research activities and past and current lab members.

In the sedimentology lab at Montclair State University, Dr. Passchier collaborates with undergraduate, M.S. and Ph.D. students. She previously hosted Ph.D. students and post-doctoral fellows from Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands within the framework of post-expedition research. Dr. Passchier's teaching assignments include Sedimentology & Stratigraphy, Advanced Marine Geology, Glacial Deposits and introductory courses in the Geosciences.

Dr. Passchier is currently part of the Science Evaluation Panel for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and an Associate Editor for the international journal The Holocene. Previously she was a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling (USAC) and the international steering committee on Antarctic Climate Evolution (SCAR-ACE). She has also enjoyed being a Distinguished Lecturer for the IODP and an instructor in the PAIS-IODP Antarctic Summer School at Texas A&M University, College Station TX.

Selected Recent Publications (*/** designates MSU graduate/undergraduate student, ^other student):
^Tibbett, E.J., Scher, H.D., Warny, S., Tierney, J.E., Passchier, S., Feakins, S.J. Late Eocene record of hydrology and temperature from Prydz Bay, East Antarctica, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology,

Wu L., Wilson D., Wang R., Passchier S., Krijgsman W., Yu X., Wen T., Xiao W., Liu Z., 2021. Late Quaternary dynamics of the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system, East Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 252, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106738

Hyttinen, O., Quintana Krupinski, N., Bennike, O., Wacker, L., Filipsson, H., Obrochta, S., Jensen, J.B., Lougheed, B., Ryabchuk, D., Passchier, S., Snowball, I., Herrero-Bervera, E., Andrén, T., Kotilainen, A.T., 2020. Deglaciation dynamics of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet in the Kattegat, the gateway between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea Basin. Boreas,

Dunkl, I. et al. (incl. Passchier, S.), 2020. Comparability of heavy mineral data – the first interlaboratory round robin test. Earth Science Reviews,

*Vaidya, B.P., *Hagmann, D.F., Balacco, J., Passchier, S., Adams Krumins, J., Goodey, N.M., 2020. Plants mitigate restrictions to phosphatase activity in metal contaminated soils, Environmental Pollution, 114801,

Jovane, L., Florindo, F., Acton, G., Ohneiser, C., Sagnotti, L., Strada, E., Verosub, K.L., Wilson, G.S., Iacoviello, F., Levy, R.H., Passchier, S., 2019. Miocene glacial dynamics recorded by variations in magnetic properties in the ANDRILL‐2A drill core. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth,

*Kelly, A.L., Passchier, S., 2018. A sub-millennial sediment record of ice-stream retreat and meltwater storage in the Baltic Ice Lake during the Bolling-Allerod interstadial. Quaternary Science Reviews 198, 126-139,

^Valletta, R.D., Willenbring, J.K., Passchier, S., Elmi, C., 2018. 10Be/9Be ratios reflect Antarctic Ice Sheet freshwater discharge during Pliocene warming. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology,

Colleoni, F., De Santis, L., Siddoway, C.S., Bergamasco, A., Golledge, N.R., Lohmann, G., Passchier, S. and Siegert, M.J., 2018. Spatio-temporal variability of processes across Antarctic ice-bed-ocean interfaces. Nature Communications. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04583-0

Passchier, S., *Ciarletta, D., **Henao, V, **Sekkas, V., 2018. Sedimentary processes and facies on a high-latitude passive continental margin, Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. Geological Society of London, Special Publication, v. 475, doi:10.1144/SP475.3

Sangiorgi, F., Bijl, P., Passchier, S., Salzmann, U., Schouten, S., McKay, R., Cody, R., Pross, J., van de Flierdt, T., Bohaty, S., Levy, R., Williams, T., Escutia, C., and Brinkhuis, H., 2018. A warm Southern Ocean and retreated Wilkes Land ice sheet (East Antarctica) during the mid-Miocene. Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02609-7.

Passchier, S., *Ciarletta, D., **Miriagos, T., Bijl, P., Bohaty, S., 2017. An Antarctic stratigraphic record of step-wise ice growth through the Eocene-Oligocene Transition. Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 129, doi: 10.1130/B31482.1.

*Hansen, M.A. and Passchier, S., 2017. Oceanic circulation changes during early Pliocene marine ice-sheet instability in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. Geo-Mar Lett., doi:10.1007/s00367-016-0489-8

*Hansen, M. A., Passchier, S. Khim, B.-K., Song, B., and Williams, T., 2015. Threshold behavior of a marine-based sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in response to early Pliocene ocean warming, Paleoceanography, 30, doi:10.1002/2014PA002704.


Dr. Passchier's lab group analyses geological archives with the goal to determine past changes in relative sea level, glacial thermal regime and ice extent on high-latitude continental margins. Sedimentological and geochemical laboratory methods are employed to inform reconstructions of weathering, provenance (source area) and energy of the depositional environment (sink) through time. Grain-size distributions, mineralogy and major and trace element composition of the detrital fraction of sediment samples are collected along depth transects exposed in outcrops and drillcores. Furthermore, time series based on sedimentary cyclicity are analyzed to assess variability in the drivers and rates of ice sheet and sea level change.



Research Projects

Timing and Spatial Distribution of Antarctic Ice Sheet Growth and Sea-ice Formation across the Eocene-Oligocene Transition

The melt of land based ice is raising global sea levels with at present only minor contributions from polar ice sheets. However, the future role of polar ice sheets in climate change is one of the most critical uncertainties in predictions of sea level rise around the globe. The respective roles of oceanic and atmospheric greenhouse forcing on ice sheets are poorly addressed with recent measurements of polar climatology, because of the extreme rise in greenhouse forcing the earth is experiencing at this time. Data on the evolution of the West Antarctic ice sheet is particularly sparse. To address the data gap, we will reconstruct the timing and spatial distribution of Antarctic ice growth through the last greenhouse to icehouse climate transition around 37 to 33 Ma. We will collect sedimentological and geochemical data on core samples from a high-latitude paleoarchive to trace the shutdown of the chemical weathering system, the onset of glacial erosion, ice rafting, and sea ice development, as East and West Antarctic ice sheets coalesced in the Weddell Sea sector and beyond. Our findings will lead to profound increases in the understanding of the role of greenhouse forcing in ice sheet development and its effect on the global climate system.